Page images
[ocr errors]

Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, I just thought of another little item in connection with the railroads. Their position is untenable in another matter. About 15 years ago when the truck lines began to take business away from the railroads they fought the truck lines with everything they had at their command. They used to send their firemen and engineers and conductors and car knockers, or anybody they could get, employees, to come in and solicit business from people like me and urge us not to use the truck lines. Now, the railroad companies are running the truck lines, too. They have taken advantage of that method of transportation. Maybe they will be running the boats on these canals. We don't know.

Senator OVERTON. Thank you Mr. Harris. Does anyone have anything further to offer on this matter?

Mr. MATTHIAS. I would like to submit a further statement for the record from Mr. Claudius M. Dickson, president of the Red River Valley Improvement Association.

Senator OVERTON. Very well. That may appear in the record.



Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, illness prevents me from appearing here today, but with your kind permission, I would like to make the following few remarks on behalf of a project that has long been dear to me.

In 1921 the people in Red River Valley organized the Red River Valley Improvement Association. The association is composed of agriculural, industrial, civic, and private interests throughout four States-grouped together for the purpose of improving flood conditions and securing full utilization of the water resources in the States of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, through which Red River flows.

One of the major problems of this valley, in its economic growth and development, is the lack of adequate cheap transportation to compete with other parts of the United States and foreign countries. We are advocating and actively supporting the Red River lateral canal plan-which we recognize as being the most practical and economical form to supply this missing link of a well-rounded economical transportation system for the valley.

Our association, together with the Department of Public Works of the State of Louisiana, and many civic organizations have made careful studies of every phase of the proposed canal. In assembling the data that was necessary to prove the economic justification of the project, we have at all times attempted to present figures and facts without exaggeration.

From the very beginning of this project, we have attempted to present our data and figures based only on exhaustive research and skilled engineering reports.

The proposed Red River lateral canal is before this committee today only because it has withstood every test a project of this type must stand according to the democratic procedures that Congress through its wisdom has prescribed.

As a representative of the people of the Red River Valley, I want to say that the whole valley has a vital interest in seeing this project realized. While this proposed development will be of immeasurable help to the cities of Alexandria, Natchitoches, and Shreveport-it will also be of tremendous benefit to the people of the whole territory of Red River Valley. The people of the States of Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are vitally interested in seeing this plan for the restoration of navigation to the valley approved and constructed. These people will be proportionately benefited from the improvement and unquestionably to a larger extent when navigation west and north of Shreveport is developed. Our people are not asking their Government for a needless expenditure in this proposalbut they are asking merely for the instrument which will provide them with the opportunity to develop one of America's greatest and most fertile valleys.

Port facilities necessary to be furnished by the local interests in this development have already been pledged by port development associations in Alexandria, Natchitoches, and Shreveport and by the State of Louisiana. Individuals and companies have previously expressed plans to operate barges on this waterway when it is available.

I can assure you, gentlemen, that today there is nothing but complete harmony and enthusiastic support behind this project by the people of the Red River Valley:

We know that you gentlemen are extremely well qualified to judge and weigh the merits of this proposal, and we are confident that in the final analysis the people will have your committee's approval of the Red River lateral canal.

Senator OVERTON. We are going to vote on the reorganization bill at 5 o'clock. We will recess now until 10:30 o'clock tomorrow morning.

(Whereupon, at 5 p. m., an adjournment was taken until 10:30 a. m. Tuesday, June 11, 1946.)

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 1946


Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10:30 a. m., pursuant to adjournment on Monday, June 10, 1946, in the Capitol, Senator John H. Overton, presiding

Present: Senators Overton (presiding), Bilbo, O’Daniel, McClellan, Robertson, Cordon, Brooks, and Knowland.

Senator OVERTON. All right, the committee will please come to order.

Mr. Roberts, you said you wanted a few minutes in rebuttal on this Red River navigation project.

Mr. ROBERTS. Yes; Mr. Chairman.
Senator OVERTON. You may proceed.



Mr. ROBERTS. There were a few statements made yesterday afternoon after I testified that I should like to make some mention of.

First I should like to refer to Colonel Feringa's statement with respect to transportation costs. As I understand his presentation, he was dealing with what he proposed was the actual cost of bargeline transportation.

Now, the figures he presented cover only the actual operation, only what is paid out by the barge operator. They do not include the cost of construction or annual maintenance paid by the Government. I take issue with him on that point because I am somewhat familiar with the document from which he read. Now, the ICC report of 1914 from which Colonel Feringa

read was on a natural waterway. The Red River Canal proposed is an artificial waterway. Furthermore, the figures are outdated as 1914 was quite a while before any large-scale barge developments took place on the inland waterways, particularly in the Southwest.

Senator OVERTON. May I interrupt you?
Mr. ROBERTS. Yes, sir.

Senator OVERTON. You said that this Red River Canal project is not a natural waterway. It does follow a natural stream, does it not?

Mr. ROBERTS. It follows the Red River such as that may be.

Senator OVERTON. There are three laterals of the Red River, the Bipierre and all these streams that were mentioned. There is no use of going over them again. Isn't it true that in the main all of


[ocr errors]

our natural streams, even the great Mississippi River, have to be improved for the purpose of navigation?


Senator OVERTON. We are deepening the Mississippi River now from Baton Rouge on up to the mouth of the Ohio from 9 to 12 feet. We are also constantly improving the navigation facilities at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and all the way down to Baton Rouge and New Orleans and on down. That is also true in reference to the Ohio; that is improved by reservoirs and from a navigation standpoint by locks and dams and so on.

It is true we have authorized a project to deepen the Missouri River • from its mouth 800 miles to the Sioux River. You don't take navigable streams just as they are. You have to improve them. That is true of this Red River Canal project. It follows certain natural streams which are improved.

Very well. You may proceed.

Mr. ROBERTS. There is another angle to that, too, Senator, that all of this potential waterway traffic, including the Red River Canal, is included on the basis of subsidy and it is on this basis of subsidy that all proponents or any shipper that would be approached on the subject would divulge his figures as to what he might be able to ship.

I, as a railroad representative, could go into that same territory and put out a questionnaire and ask how much tonnage they would be able to ship, or would ship if we offered them a subsidy, and we would get, I am sure, an answer along the same lines.

Senator OVERTON. Well, now, can you point out a single river and harbor improvement for navigation purposes where the actual tonnage fell measurably below that which was estimated by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors?

Mr. ROBERTS. No, sir; I don't have those figures, but I am quite sure there are streams in the Southwest that did not develop to the extent mentioned by them in this case.

Senator OVERTON. Can you mention any?

Mr. ROBERTS. No; I cannot. I haven't got the figures with me. I didn't bring my files with me.

Now, he said something yesterday about erroneous freight rates. As far as I was able to hear there was no rebuttal of my testimony. I wish, however, to point out two particular items which we did not cover, dealing with this particular phase of the report.

One is on grain and grain products. I believe the witnesses for the Louisiana interests testified that corn was not included.

Senator OVERTON. That is right.

Mr. ROBERTS. That may be correct because it is described as grain and grain products. The Board estimated a tonnage of 102,000 tons at an estimated saving annually of $207,800. Now, the faulty part of that deduction is this: There is no grain produced in Shreveport. There isn't any grain of any consequence produced at Shreveport, Alexandria, or Natchitoches or any other point in the valley. There may be some production of corn and sorghum grains, there may be some oats, but the record shows there is over 80 percent that is fed right back on the farms where it is produced.

Now as to your grain products for human consumption, that reaches back in western Texas, when we have a crop, and Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and up through the Middle West territory. In order for these

« PreviousContinue »